Family Friday. Have You Turned Your Face to the Wall and Wept?

When one finds oneself with a threatening disease and facing death, all kinds of emotions erupt.  Why has this happened to me?  What will happen to my children?  People stay away because they feel helpless to make a change.  Clouds of fear and depression close in.  The disease advances in the body and death threatens slowly, slowly.

This happened to a King in Israel a long time ago.  Here is the story.

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. 
The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: 
Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” 
And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 
Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. 
On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 
I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’ ” (‭2 Kings‬ ‭20‬:‭1-6‬ NIV)
So Hezekiah’s servants spread the ointment over the boil, and Hezekiah recovered! (‭2 Kings‬ ‭20‬:7‬ NLT)

Imagine the king turning to the wall and weeping bitterly.  Have you ever been in distress about a situation, perhaps not only a health problem, when all you could do was lie on your bed and turn to the wall and weep?  Have you ever felt you can’t go on unless the situation changes?  One can think “Why bother doing good?”  “Why bother seeking to keep God’s laws?”  “Why bother denying myself when my friends get away with doing things they shouldn’t.  Nothing seems to happen to them?”

Psalm 13 describes how one often feels.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?  (‭Psalm‬ ‭13‬:‭1-2‬ NIV)

I have turned to the wall many times and cried, particularly when I was facing death through cancer.  I was afraid.  I was sad.  All hope was gone.  But God saw me and healed me.  Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the multitudes.  Will he not have compassion on one person, that person being you or me.  

Hezekiah the king of Israel was facing death.  He was distressed and wept.  He didn’t just give up.  He reminded God that he had tried to live right before him and do good.  He put his case before God.  He talked to God.  He reasoned with God.  
God heard his prayer and saw his tears.  God changed his mind and sent the prophet back right away to tell the king that he would recover.   Isn’t that good news?  Take heart today that when you cry to God and reason with him he can quickly heal you.

I have more good news.  God has made a way where there is no way. Jesus died on the cross and shed his Blood to forgive all our sins and heal all our diseases.  Even if i haven’t lived right, if I believe in Jesus and call on his name and plead the Blood of Jesus before God our Father he will forgive and heal.  Having faith in Jesus brings results.

A young lady I know had Multiple Sclerosis.  Her condition had deteriorated till she was confined to bed.  She was no longer able to look after her husband and children.  She was being treated with medication from the doctor but she remained weak.  She cried out to God from her sick bed.  Through prayer she too has been totally healed, is restored to look after her family and has two more children.   

Another young pastor’s wife had cancer and she began to bleed. She was pregnant with her fifth child.  The doctors gave her pain relief and sent her home.  She was in terrible pain.  She reasoned with God.  “I have tried to serve you as best I know how.  Please heal me.”   She was totally healed in a few days.  The cancer passed from her body with no harm to her baby!  24 February 2015 “Testimony Tuesday, Young Mother Healed of Cancer”

Refreshment in a Land flowing with Milk and Honey.

I believe holidays are not a luxury, they are a necessity.
In this busy world, work and other activities demand our time and energy until one is worn out. I thought it important for us as a family, even though a big family, to get away for a summer break. We had valuable time together creating memories.

Brendan and I are staying in Limerick.  It is a little bit different this year.  We are on our own, instead of eight, nine or twelve of us.  A friend offered us the use of his home while he and his family are on their holidays.  We usually take a holiday at the beginning of May to recharge our batteries after winter and work schedules.  There was no time free in May this year.  My body was weary and needing some attention.  I dreamed of travelling west in Ireland to be refreshed seeing the mountains and green valleys.  I decided to help Brendan continue prepare for people who were coming to stay with us. I continued to dream.

June was busy with guests from Alabama and India.  The day before guests arrived our friend called to offer us his home in Adare at the end of June.  When Brendan told me I was delighted.  God is faithful.  He knew my need of rest and he provided.   As we shared our home with others, God inspired another person to share his home with us.

A man reaps what he sows.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭7, 9‬ NIV)

Thirty years ago, our friend offered us the use of his home.  We had eight children at the time.  It was a generous gesture.  Not everyone wants to let a big family have the run of their home.  We were able to visit the local tourist scenes and go to the beach when the sun shone.  The children played about in the fields nearby or at the beach like young calves released from the stall.  We have stayed in his home many times down through the years.  He is a blessing.

Kerry and Limerick are famous for the production of milk. Lush, thick grass grows all the year round to support the herds of Friesien cows. There are plenty of green pastures. It is a land flowing with milk like the Promised Land.

Back then people were in conflict in Nothern Ireland.  There was pressure in the atmosphere.  Everyone was under a cloud.  From that year on we went for two weeks in July for holidays to Limerick, Donegal or Kerry.  We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and warm welcome wherever we travelled.  We always returned to the  North of  Ireland refreshed.

The Unknown God

Many people are not sure if there is a God.  There is a story in a book called the bible, about a man called Paul who was a follower of Jesus.  He was in Athens, where he found an altar to The Unknown God.  I quote,

So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.
“He is the God who made the world and everything in it.
Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs.
He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth.
He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.
His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
For in him we live and move and exist.  “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” (‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭17‬:‭22-31‬ NLT)

The one whom he raised from the dead is Jesus.  He came and lived on the earth for three years and went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil.  God spoke out of the cloud his love and approval of his son Jesus.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬ NIV)
No other person has risen from the dead.  No other God is kind and merciful.  No other god claims to lift heavy burdens from people’s back and offer them rest.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭28-30‬ NLT)

He gives food to the hungry, he frees prisoners, and opens the eyes of the blind.  Psalm 146 v 7-8

He healed the sick.

And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. (‭Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭14‬ KJV)

I choose to believe what these words say.  I choose to believe in Jesus.

There are many books written about people who claim to help you if you follow them.

Psalm 146 v 3 says

Don’t put your confidence in powerful people, there is no help for you there.

I was diagnosed of fourth stage bowel cancer in 2010.  “That is a death sentence”, someone said.  I should be dead in the grave.  But I took hope in Jesus’ promise to heal today.  He told his followers to do the same as he did.  He is not a dead god.  He is alive and interested in our lives.  Jesus healed me from all cancer!  I am alive! I pray for others to be healed in Jesus name.

The unknown god that Paul spoke about many centuries ago healed me from cancer in 2010.  His name is Jesus.  Call upon him and you too can be healed.

Family Friday. Grandchildren are the Crown and Glory of the Aged.

Last Saturday I attended a family event.  About one hundred and fifty people gathered together to celebrate being children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of my mother and father.  My parents are both dead, but we met to honor their memory and their sacrifice to rear us, their ten children.
It was because of their example I had endurance to have fourteen children of my own.  My father was a farmer.  The land produced crops and fed animals.  I remember my father walking across a field scattering corn seed with a fiddle.  He did not have the modern machinery that ploughs up the ground, prepares it for the seed and then sows the seed all in a few days.
He arose early every morning to milk cows, “twenty four seven”.  My mother and father imageshared the work.  Mummy supplemented the income by rearing hens and selling the eggs.  As we their children grew up we helped with the work.  My parents educated all their ten children.
The event last week was a focus for some of my own children to return from far away to join the celebrations.  My son David called me two weeks before to tell me he was thinking of coming over from Canada to be there.  It would be an occasion when he and Jacquelyn could introduce their baby daughter Ava, now eight months to his brothers and sisters and extended family.  I was delighted and encouraged him to come.
God blessed his plans.  He was able to book flights that were affordable even at short notice and within the time frame of days he could get off work.  I met them at Dublin airport.  One year ago exactly Brendan and I stood in Dublin airport and waved goodbye to David and Jacquelyn as they left Ireland to settle in Canada.  They returned to these shores of Ireland last Thursday!  It was a day of joy!  They were with us for five full days.

Baby Ava met and played with her cousins, got nursed and shared around to willing arms to hold her.  David hung out with his brothers and sisters.  Jacquelyn met up with friends.

David and Jacquelyn are adjusting well to being young parents.  They lovingly care for Ava.  .  Last evening I found one of Ava’s bottles.  I shed a few tears.  I was missing David and his family.  I miss Jacquelyn up early in the kitchen preparing bottles of milk for Ava.  I miss my grandchild playing around on the floor.  I miss my son David.
But I have joy in knowing he is starting out in life to look after his own family.
Like my father and my husband he will be an excellent provider and protector for Jacquelyn and Ava.  Brendan and I got to see our grandchild Ava.
Grandchildren are the crown and glory of the aged.  Proverbs 17 v 6
We will see her again.

This Is My Son. Listen to Him.

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. (‭Luke‬ ‭21‬:‭25-26‬ KJV)

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples when he was telling them about the end of the world.  He told them to look for the signs.

There were signs and wonders in the sky as we drove out last evening.  We looked up.  In the space of an hour, we saw dark, rain laden clouds, a double rainbow, a full moon and the sun.  We saw dark, imagegrey and purple clouds to our left, then a small rainbow on the horizon, a bright mushroom like cloud, a full moon in front of us and the sun behind us, all in the sky at once.

I was encouraged when a minister was speaking yesterday.  He quoted from the scripture which says,

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (‭Matthew‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬ NIV)

God spoke out of the cloud, his love and approval of his son Jesus.   He tells us to listen to Jesus.

Today God in heaven, the creator of the clouds, sun and moon is saying “Listen to my son, Jesus.” Read what is recorded about Jesus when he was on the earth in the scriptures.  He is the truth, the way and the life.  Those who are thirsty, come to Jesus, the fountain of life.  He promises to give you water that you will never thirst again, and eternal life. I Praise God that I am alive to see his wonders in the sky last evening.

Testimony Tuesday. Something Broken Made Into Something Beautiful

I have taken up a hobby of making mosaics from broken pieces of glass and pottery.

image

One sunny morning in Springtime I went for a walk along the foreshore.  It is a stony beach.  I noticed pieces of green glass glistening among the pebbles.  They were looking at me inviting me to pick them up.  I picked one up, then another, and another until my pocket was full.  I felt like I was panning for gold in the stones of the shoreline.   Brendan joined me is my treasure hunt and he collected a pocket full too.  We collected other species, shades of blue, white, and brown.

I inspected them all when I returned home.  I asked myself what can I do with these colourful but broken pieces of glass.  The edges weren’t sharp any more and their colours were cloudy from the years of being broken and worn with the sea storms.  They had lost their shine.  Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose or rejection leaving one worn down with the storms of life or relegated to the ash heap.

When washed and grim removed, my pieces of glass were ready to be positioned into something beautiful.

As I looked at the different shapes of green pieces I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I would use a piece of glass for each county.  I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  So started my hobby of making mosaics.  I tried out putting other colours of glass together.  I find I relax as I work.

On Saturday I discovered a new site along the shoreline to build up my supply of broken pieces. I added to my collection, pieces of pottery.  I was excited to see how these pieces would clean up.  Some had blue willow patterns, some had plain colours.  How would they fit in to a mosaic?

As I worked I reminded myself how glass is made.  It is made from the common material, sand.  The sand is heated to 1700 degrees. Through the fire sand changes to become glass.  Pottery is made from clay, a common material.  The clay is treated in high temperatures to turn it to pottery.

The Word of God tells us that we were created by God.

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭7‬ NIV)

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭64‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Sometimes when I go through difficult times I wonder what is happening to me.  This passage from Peter explains,

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭12‬ NIV)

When I go though the fires of difficulty I am being transformed to be a useful vessel for The Lord, like the sand being transformed to glass or the clay to pottery.

The pieces of glass and pottery on the beach are all that remain of useful vessels.  Perhaps the blue glass was a beautiful perfume bottle or the piece of pottery, a treasured piece of willow patterned delph on a bride’s dresser.

But even after many years Our Creator God can reach down and touch all that remains of a broken vessel and make something new.  My mosaics speak to me of hope.  There is life after brokenness.  They can be displayed on a dresser again or adorn a bathroom wall and be a thing of beauty again.  God will restore lives again.